IOWA Magazine | 03-03-2018

Gift of Life

2 minute read
A transplant patient helps support other families in need.

Less than two years ago, Deb Brown of Cedar Rapids was on death’s doorstep. Patiently waiting for a liver transplant that might never come, Deb’s health was quickly deteriorating.

Five months after being placed on the liver transplant list, she had been rushed to the hospital five times—coding once. Because Deb’s liver was no longer functioning properly, ammonia was building up in her abdomen and chest cavity. It was affecting her everyday life; she couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and was struggling to breathe.

“We knew that the liver wasn’t getting any better, and we had accepted the fact that Deb might die,” says Ed Brown, Deb’s husband.

While Deb’s health continued to decline, a phone call in November 2016 provided hope: a liver had become available for Deb. The Browns rushed to UI Hospitals and Clinics, and after an 11-hour procedure, Deb had a new liver.

Once out of surgery, Deb spent the next five days at the hospital. Before she was sent home, Deb already felt an immediate change. “It was like night and day,” she says. “The care I received from the doctors and nurses at Iowa was exemplary.”

Now, more than one year later, the Browns have shown gratitude for the care they received at UI Hospitals and Clinics by making a gift to its Organ Transplant Center. “We hope that, through our giving, we can thank the donor who provided Deb with an organ and honor all donors who have made an organ donation or will do so in the future,” says Ed about the Organ Transplant Center, which completed 143 transplants last year. “That’s why we created the Dragonfly Transplant Fund.”

The Browns encourage everyone who has been affected by organ donation or transplant to support the Dragonfly Transplant Fund, which will enhance the support patients and their families and caregivers receive during the transplant experience—whether it’s for educational materials, a dedicated lounge area, or offsetting travel expenses. “This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact in so many lives,” says Ed. “We want to support the organ transplant team at Iowa and the great program they already have in place. This is our way of saying ‘thank you.’”

For more information on the Dragonfly Transplant Fund, visit or

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